8 Books Elon Musk Recommends (with proof)

Elon Musk is the new Steve Jobs of the decade. When the eccentric founder left us, the SpaceX and founder of Tesla stepped up and filled the gap that Jobs created with his parting.

The man is not shy from Twitter and occasionally tweets reading recommendations to the world. The books he recommends vary from topic, genre and publishing time line. Perhaps it is this wide and varied absorption of ideas that helped him become the man behind SpaceX and Tesla.

Reading can stretch the mind and push your knowledge boundaries. Here are a few books he’s tweeted about and in no particular order.

Look to Windward

Iain M. Banks

Published in 2000, this futuristic tale by Banks is part of Elon Musk’s apparent favorite sci-fi authors. The Tesla founder has recommended Banks numerous times and cites it as one of his favorite writers.

The Culture

Ian M. Banks

Let’s get real. Elon Musk is a sci-fi fan, especially ones written by Banks. Here’s the entire series if you’re interested. These novels are probably the original jet fuel for SpaceX. Reading fiction isn’t just delegated as a past time. It can also serve as an inspiration for real-life projects.

Screw Business As Usual

Richard Branson

Richard Branson is a billionaire. There’s no doubt that he’s done something right to get himself to where he currently stands. Screw Business As Usual takes us on a narrative that leads us down a path of why we should discard the expected normal and do our own thing instead.

Catherine The Great

Robert K. Massie

Elon Musk leaves us with a cliff-hanger with his tweet. It’s really a smart move to get us reading about history. What many of us don’t know is that the royal families of Britain, Denmark, Netherlands, and Spain are all her descendants. There’s more to it than the rumors about her relationship with horses.

I guess history books can be interesting too, if you let it be.


John D. Clark

Published in the 70s, this book isn’t just a science book. It a book that documents the Cold War and the race to find a rocket propellent that could take man into outer space.

Blasting off is a lot harder back in the 70s, where calculators are probably the most advanced computational machines available to the general public.

Our Final Invention

James Barrat

Published in 2013, James Barrat proposes that AI could reach a level of self automation in a decade. We’re already more than half-way through. Remember that time Facebook AI machine started making its own language and the program had to be shut down?

Things are happening and maybe we should be aware of what our future entails.

The Machine Stops

E.M. Forster

A short story that will probably take about 30 minutes to read. The Machine Stops has uncannily predicted new technologies – over 100 years in advanced.

The piece was published in 1909 and was already talking about the Internet. Forster knows something – either that or his imagination has precognition powers. Maybe that’s why Elon Musk recommends it.

Das Kapital

Karl Marx

What’s a better way to understand our world in its current state than to look at it from a different perspective. Marxism offers up perspectives on capitalism. Elon Musk takes it one step further and applies three concepts together – socialism, capitalism, and automation.

Can you read it and see it from his perspective?



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